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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks,

I installed a Sony head unit last night along with companion HD and satellite radio tuners. When I switch the system on, the head unit starts to boot for about 5 seconds, then blacks out and restarts again. Repeat ad nauseum.

This sounds to me like a current transient/voltage drop at startup, which brings me to my question of how to properly ground and supply power to electrical gear in the elise.

Currently, I just tapped into the power and ground on the radio harness to power the HD and sat tuners. My sense is this is not ideal, that I'd at least want grounds running to chassis for the tuners. I should mention everything works fine when I unplug either power or bus line from the sat tuner. It also doesn't matter if the car is running or not.

Do you ground stuff to the aluminum chassis just like you would in a steel car, or are there better sources of ground under/near the dash? Are there any good grounding points in/under the dash?

Any other ideas on what is going wrong?
 

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i will loosely say the dash should be a good ground. many share your sentiments about poor grounding options, but its really not hard on the lotus..

if you have some time and want to do it right, you can run a good size piece of wire from the battery negative terminal thru the wheel well around the tub and into the cabin at the shift cable hole, along the console and up to the dash. this will be 100% effective ground and then just use a terminal device to make it a few grounding lugs. realistically I would just check your ground/contacts at the point you tied into them. 99% (not just lotus but jags too) of the issues I see with stereo/video equipment in cars is from poor use of scotch locks and butt connectors where they either should not be used or were very improperly used, resulting in a poor connection to begin with. and on an off chance, yours wouldnt be the first aftermarket audio/video device i have encountered that was either bad out of the box or had a plug in harness incorrectly wired (from the mfg)that caused all sorts of wierd "gremlins" to occur...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Excellent tips. I soldered right into the wire harness adapeter at the head unit, but did use wire taps down the line where the sat tuner power taps into the HD tuner lines. I gues that shouldn't matter, though, since it's the head unit malfunctioning...

Were you suggesting I check the actual grounding of the Elise wire harness itself?

I'd like to avoid running a ground wire to battery if possible, just to keep the interior clean and avoid having a wire slapping against the chassis.

Maybe it'd be worth trying a cap across the power lines in case it's just a startup transient?
 

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The harness should be sufficient to ground your HU. An easy test for you might be to run a length of wire directly to the negative terminal on your battery to completely rule out any grounding issues in one motion. Mine has been grounded through the harness with no problems for 2 years. My amps are in the trunk so I just ran a short length of cable from each amp to the battery. Easier then trying to reach the chassis.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Excellent tips, thanks. For you guys grounding the amp, are you mounting the amp under or behind the seat? Are there any amps that are especially small?

I got the head unit working! For those of you with a Sony HU, take note... I just reversed the position of the HD and sat tuners on the serial bus. That is, I was having the problem when the sat was going through the HD to the HU. By running the HD through the sat tuner, it worked. Go figure.

And for future reference, it does seem to work fine to have the HU, a sat tuner, and an HD tuner all powered/grounded right into the factory harness.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Follow-up--this was NOT a grounding issue. It worked just find to have the head unit, HD tuner, and satellite tuner all grounded from the harness/head unit adapter at the head unit (so no factory wiring needs to be touched).

Here was the problem--get this--I just switched the position of the HD and sat tuners on the Sony bus. That is, I had it head unit--HD--sat, and tried head unit--sat--HD and it worked!

I had heard the sony sat tuner didn't work through the multi-input switch sony sells, so I'm not surprised. (I don't understand why you'd need that given the way the bus works now, anyway.) It's a Sony MEX-BT5100 if that helps.
 

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Follow-up--this was NOT a grounding issue. It worked just find to have the head unit, HD tuner, and satellite tuner all grounded from the harness/head unit adapter at the head unit (so no factory wiring needs to be touched).

Here was the problem--get this--I just switched the position of the HD and sat tuners on the Sony bus. That is, I had it head unit--HD--sat, and tried head unit--sat--HD and it worked!

I had heard the sony sat tuner didn't work through the multi-input switch sony sells, so I'm not surprised. (I don't understand why you'd need that given the way the bus works now, anyway.) It's a Sony MEX-BT5100 if that helps.

I don't know much about the Sony HUs. I am pretty much a die hard Alpine fan for car HUs as we have 3 of them right now, all different models and I like them all. I have never had an Alpine HU go bad or even had a problem, only get stolen. :mad:

I have Sony all over the inside of the house though. For amps my favorite are the Alpine PDX series but this 6 ch JL amp I just bought is nice too. For the Elise/Exige I would go with a 5 ch that would fit behind the seat unless you are a wiring freak like me then anything goes in the trunk and it is hard to beat the PDX series for the money as they are small and clean. Easy enough to mount 2 back there and fit the soft top easily or take enough clothes for two people to head out for the weekend. Just make sure you make a good bracket and mount directly to the clam, NOT on top of the carpet as your amp can rock that way and crash into your clam. The PDX amps stack and are small enough to mount flat. Nothing much larger than a sheet of paper fits under the seat and mounting under the dash almost guarantees that it will get kicked when you have a passenger. :p

There are a few threads of people finding amps that fit behind the passenger seat. Do some searching, the threads go back a couple of years about wiring and mounting.

Good luck with the rest of your install.
 
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